Porsche is looking to find the right balance between sportiness and practicality with its new Cayenne GTS. We find out how close they get.
|V8 , 4806cc
|420hp @ 6500rpm
|380lb ft @ 3500rpm
“The sports car among the SUVs.”
The above slogan is from Porsche’s marketing strategy, and I’m finding it difficult to picture this. An SUV surely is an SUV, a large vehicle built for practicality and comfort during those long journeys with the family, and a helpful item to have while off-roading. Where does a sports car fit into that description?
For Porsche, that would be the Cayenne GTS. Appearing on the scene in 2008, the GTS plugged a gap in the range between the practical but sprightly Cayenne S and the 500-plus horsepower Turbo. With it came stiffened suspension, revised engine mapping and more responsive steering to make the GTS not just fast but dynamic as well.
Compared with its first generation counterpart, the new GTS boasts elongated headlights, sharpened bonnet lines, lowered front and rear bumpers, and a twin-wing rooflip spoiler. Air intakes in the front bumper have been extended in deference to a similar design on the Cayenne Turbo, while a new front apron boasting additional intakes helps feed air to the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in the Cayenne line-up. Along the side we have lowered side skirts, extended wheel arches and a high gloss black finish around the twin tailpipes, window frames and tailgate. Our test model also boasts 21-inch 911 Turbo II Wheels, an inch larger than standard on the S. We’ll stop short of calling the GTS ‘handsome’ – there are still a couple of generations to go before Porsche really nails it – but softened bodylines and a lowered stance give the GTS an elegance it had so desperately been missing.
The shouty lime green Peridot paint winds the ‘elegance’ back in but boasts some surprisingly subtle touches in the cabin. The Alcantara interior and leather seats boast Peridot cross-stitching. The GTS logos on the headrests are the same colour, as are the illuminated door sill guards. Even the key fob, which comes in a swanky leather pouch, matches the exterior. The lime green seatbelts could be considered a step too far – we’re straying dangerously close to gimmicky for this family 4×4 – but overall the cabin is beautifully constructed. There’s bags of head and legroom thanks in part to the new GTS measuring 4846mm long and 1954mm wide, 66mm and 26mm more respectively than the first gen Cayenne. Our test model also boasts the Sport Chrono Package, which includes a stopwatch set into the dashboard and a performance display in the instrument panel. Bizarrely, in a model supposedly sports car-esque performance, the Chrono in the GTS does not include the Sport Plus button as it does in the 911 Carrera, Cayman and the Boxster.
What does take some getting used to is the enormous transmission tunnel. The way in which the cluster sweeps out of the dashboard is an elegant touch, and also raises the PDK gear lever into a more useable position. Foregoing a multi-function steering wheel though means the centre stack houses all the buttons and dials, and is therefore cluttered and difficult to navigate. The handles on either side of the tunnel can also be quite awkward: the passenger may well have something to hold onto through the corners, but the handle on the driver’s side can get in the way of your right elbow during tighter manoeuvres. Stacked to the stitches with optional extras has taken its toll on the GTS’ kerb weight too, which measures a beefy 2085kg.
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